05/12/09 — Cutting costs: Perhaps the unconventional might be the best option

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Cutting costs: Perhaps the unconventional might be the best option

It is an intriguing concept, isn't it?

A reader suggested this past weekend that perhaps there might be some merit in consolidating, rather than expanding, local government.

He did not go so far as to draw the obvious conclusion, so we will do it for him -- less government equals fewer tax dollars and voila, no need for tax increases or budget cuts.

It is really an offshoot of that old-time theory -- do more with less.

Now, whether consolidating the city and county governments is really doable is another story. There are laws and charters and other limits to how government is approached in the state of North Carolina. There might have to be an awful lot of expensive footwork that would need to be done now to make this concept a reality.

And there would be a need for a very efficient bureaucracy that was able to juggle the needs of many, many people at one time, while making sure money is distributed evenly and fairly. That level of cooperation might not exist anywhere.

So, maybe the consolidation itself is a little pie in the sky.

But even if the complete idea is not possible, perhaps there is a kernel of wisdom in it -- a chance for this community to remind its leadership that there is a finite supply of money and that they should be considering ways to share resources.

And being able to manage our budget more effectively is becoming even more important.

With the state government seemingly completely unable to get a bead on the moving target that has become the state budget deficit, new cutbacks have been falling like rain from Raleigh.

It seems that there is a new announcement every week about a new addition to the deficit and a new excuse for budget-cutting.

The county and city leadership both seem to be looking for ways to slim down and hold steady through this economic slowdown.

So maybe the idea put forth in the letter is worth exploring -- in a slightly modified way. Are there places where there could be more cooperation between city and county that could keep the budget balanced and services provided until the economic situation settles down a bit?

Thinking out of the box might be just what we need.

Published in Editorials on May 12, 2009 10:18 AM